The Consumer Category
We bring you the chic and unique, the best and most bizarre shopping offers both online and offline. We offer you tips on where to buy, and some of the less mainstream and crazy, individual and offbeat items on the internet. Anything that can be bought and sold can be featured here. And we love showcasing the best and worst art and design.
IN 1903, The Commonwealth Publishing Company of New York City’s magazine Vanity Fair (no, another one; this one ran from February 1902 to April 1904) produced the article on The Bifurcated Girls: Gay Girls In Trousers.
Dian Hansen notes inHistory of Men’s Magazines:
While France had a well-established men’s magazine industry by 1900, America was just showing its ankles in 1903. A magazine called Vanity Fair (unrelated to the current incarnation) was the raciest thing around, and rooming house loozies the hotties of the time. In this New York, tabloid girls who drank like men might strip down to their petticoats and fall into bed together, exposing their corset cover and stockings to peeping male boarders. The famously loose morals of stage actresses made them popular subjects for these shenanigans, but the biggest thrill of all was bifurcation. “What?” one may well ask. Bifurcation, meaning “split in two”, referred to the contours of a woman’s legs revealed by her donning men’s trousers. Bifurcation was a regular and very popular feature in Vanity Fair, it’s popularity leading to Vanity Fair’s Bifurcated Girls.
HERE is some free advice for up-and-coming marketing execs: Adverts should not make consumers feel nauseous or deeply uncomfortable. Nor should they cause consumers to experience waking nightmares or abdominal pain. You wouldn’t think this sort of instruction would be necessary, but here are five examples which demonstrate that it is. Please take notes.
1. SEXUALLY AROUSED STUFFED TOYS PROMOTE BEAR HOSIERY
“What a treat to stocking those legs. Wish I were a man,” says the first bear. I’m not sure how I feel about stuffed animals ogling over a woman’s legs. Call me old fashioned, but I prefer Teddy Bears without a sexual appetite.
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Read the rest of this entry »
IN 1940, the pamphlet A potato that wasn’t a Christian hit the streets.
Now read on:
Mummy. Who makes potatoes..?
JESSICA Harrison makes the most fantastic art. Jessica, a graduate of the Edinburgh College of Art in 2000, holds a practice-led PhD in sculpture funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.
Her research considers the relationship between interior and exterior spaces of the body, but looks neither inwards towards a hidden core, nor outwards from the subconscious, instead looking orthogonally across the skin to the movement of the body itself, using the surface of the body as a mode of both looking and thinking.
Moving beyond a bi-directional model, Harrison proposes a multi-directional and pervasive model of skin as a space in which body and world mingle. Working with this moving space between artist/maker and viewer, she draws on the active body in both making and interpreting sculpture to unravel imaginative touch and proprioceptive sensation in sculptural practice. In this way, Harrison re-describes the body in sculpture through the skin, offering an alternative way of thinking about the body beyond a binary tradition of inside and outside.
It’s better to look at her work than it is to read about. Jessica’s porcelain sculptures might be called Inside LLadro: Blood & Bone China:
IN 1958 New Haven-based toymaker A.C. Gilbert Company turned youngsters onto science with a new kit. The LAB TECHNICIAN SET was a “CAREER BUILDING SCIENCE” kit.
And it was got Girls.
How was it different for girls?
AT last, a welcome repeat of Michael Palin and Terry Jones’s Ripping Yarns – post-Python parodies of all things public school and derring-do.
The series is reflected upon, and its inspiration investigated, in this highly enjoyable BBC documentary…
FLASHBACK to 1978: Spiderman’s Celebrity Party
January 1978 cover of Marvel’s Pizzazz magazine. The magazine only lasted 16 issues.
Can you name them all?
AD of the day: Vancouver restaurant invites musicians to play free of charge – and one makes a counter-offer:
AS you’ll know there’s a move to get to the plain packaging of cigarettes. This is the rather strange idea that if we can’t associate red with Marlboro and white with Silk Cut then we’ll smoke fewer cigarettes overall. Quite why is never really explained but we are assured that it will be true.
There’s something of a problem with the idea though. Which is that abolishing branding for legal cigarettes will probably lead to more branding by illegal ones. The reason is that a brand is an identification: it tells people something about the quality, and consistency of whatever the brand is associated with.
So prevalent have some lines of Cheap Whites become in parts of the UK where the majority of cigarette sales are now non-dutied through boot sales and under-counter trades that they are establishing brand loyalties; people like cigarette characteristics they are used to, in terms of taste, strength, throat-feel, acridity and so on, and when they find an illegal brand that mimics, say, Superkings will stick with it.
Which offers the intriguing possibility that with the government’s moves to introduce plain packaging for the legitimate TMA members already feeling the pinch, it’s unlikely the Cheap Whites will follow step; if anything, they will surely tend to improve their pack image.
STROLLING down Memory Lane on the way to Anorak Towers, we came across an old advertisement for Spangles – the sweet signifier of choice for lazy peddlers of nostalgia.
But instead of invoking it alongside Chopper bicycles and Spacehoppers, it invoked an earlier, less innocent time, when germs were everywhere, and the role of confectionary packaging wasn’t simply to announce the Old English delights within, but to keep dirt out. ALL dirt. Yes, that includes you, Foreign Dirt, coming over year and contaminating our indigenous flavours.
THEY say not to judge a book by its cover, but I think it’s pretty safe to say all of these books are horrible without ever turning a page. That being said, it’s sometimes fun to check out some good old fashioned paperback trash – so let’s have a look.
Perhaps this is a prequel to the William Burrough’s classic, Naked Lunch. I suggest, then, a third volume called Naked Supper and make it a trilogy.
THE MAN WHO SAID NO
You mean they actually found the guy who said no to sex? I thought it was just an urban legend……. Oh, wait…. I’ve just been informed it’s a false alarm. He didn’t say “no”; he was merely clearing his throat. It’s all been a big mistake. False alarm.
RONALD REAGAN: A MAN TRUE TO HIS WORD
My favorite part of Ronald Reagan: A Man True To His Word is when the president sells arms to Iran then uses the cash to fund the Nicaraguan rebels. Don’t miss the exciting climax when he completely denies it.
“Suspecting Linnie’s affairs with the others, Chris’ vanity couldn’t accept the thought of being included out because of his age.”
I think the word they’re looking for is “excluded”. Somebody get Mary S. Gooch a dictionary pronto.
I WAS A TEEN-AGE DWARF
No offense to those short of stature, but this title puts the vertically challenged on par with being a werewolf or Frankenstein. (Note: This is a Dobie Gillis novel, so it was actually pretty popular in its day.)
KISS MY FIST!
Damn! Those hardboiled pulp fiction novels could get to be pretty brutal, but this is extreme. Just be glad I didn’t show you the back cover where he karate chops a kitten.
SWEET DADDY: THE STORY OF A PIMP
I think there’s been a mistake. The title should read something like: Sweet Daddy: The Story of a Tax Attorney. I’m no authority on pimps, but I think they could have chosen a guy who looks a lot more “pimp like”.
BURT REYNOLDS HOT LINE: THE LETTERS I GET AND WRITE!
I doubt Burt even noticed the naked woman attached to his backside. In the 1970s, nude females collected on Burt’s body like barnacles. Lucky bastard.
COUCH OF DESIRE
Forget 50 Shades of Grey, I recommend Couch of Desire (truthfully, it’s probably written better). But if the eroticism is just too extreme for your tastes, I suggest the much lighter read, Beanbag Chair of Friendship.
GOOD NIGHT SWEET DYKE
A perfect end to our reading list of shame. Good night, dear reader.
MEN’S fashion is an endless source of point-and-laugh fun. In this instalment, we hard back to the 1970s, wherein the Onesie For Him was knocking them bandy in the boardroom and bedroom.
Do say: With your Onesie, you look macho and more ready for action than an aroused Playgirl stud. Nice moustache.
Don’t say: Ha-ha. It’s a babygro, you muppet!
THE worst cereal of all time, for me, has always been Grape-Nuts (AKA aquarium gravel). Yet, as I grew older, I actually came to like these granular pellets which look like they belong at the bottom of a fish tank. Tastes evolve.
I say this to underscore the fact that this list is purely subjective. Yet, it’s still fun to poke through the vast arrays of breakfast cereals from years past and single out the worst of the worst. I apologize up front if I am besmirching your cherished childhood favorite, but it simply must be done. And so here they are – the definitive list of the absolute worst breakfast cereals of all time (in no particular order). Enjoy.
1. Triple Snack (1963)
I’m not sure about the idea of roasted peanuts in cereal. Almonds are fine, but you start tossing roasted peanuts into the mix, and things get weird.
2. Pink Panther Flakes (1973)
The corn flakes were bubblegum colored, which is bad enough, but the cereal became notorious for rapidly losing its color. Almost as soon as the milk hit the flakes, the bubblegum color ran off, leaving behind soggy albino flakes. Your breakfast started so full of promise, with the brilliant pink hue signaling good tidings ahead. Fast forward a few seconds, and you’re eating your soggy albino flakes in quiet disappointment.
3. Donkey Kong (1982)
The taste was not bad; it was the texture that presented problems. Many will recall the “barrels’ scraped the roof of your mouth like a mouthful of broken glass. To be fair, after repeated spoonfuls, your throat and mouth would swell and become inflamed enough to no longer feel the sharp pain. So, enjoying the cereal wasn’t entirely impossible.
4. Punch Crunch
“Little pink rings with a big pink flavor just like fruit punch… a dandy part of a nutritious breakfast.”
At what stage of desperation do you have to be in to attempt a punch flavored cereal? Was Captain Crunch suffering from scurvy when he concocted this vitamin C inspired cereal? It would seem to be the only rational explanation.
5. Sir Grapefellow (1972)
There are just certain flavors that don’t belong in a cold milk cereal. Thus, as much as we may happen to like bacon and pizza, it doesn’t mean they will make for good cereal flavorings. Someone should have told General Mills that grapes fall into that same category.
6. Corn Flakes with Instant Bananas (1964)
This one was discontinued in ’66 due to problems with the preservation and freeze drying of the bananas. Apparently, Kellog’s hadn’t yet perfected the fancy carcinogenic preservatives and dyes we all take for granted today. Upon the addition of milk, the “bananas” turned into shriveled bits of brown before your very eyes. Had the box prepared consumers and perhaps been labeled “Corn Flakes with Shriveled Bits of Brown” instead, things might’ve been different.
7. Smurf Berry Crunch
Aside from the fact that many recall a distinct iodide smell, the primary problem was what happened after it was consumed. Evidently, Smurf Berry Crunch turned your poop a brilliant purple. While that may have been a “plus” to many consumers; for most, violet poop was an unwanted side effect.
8. Norman (1971)
Very little information remains beyond first-hand accounts. Most will tell you that this BUTTER flavored cereal was the most revolting thing they’ve ever eaten. It basically amounted to small crunchy butter flavored balls which in no way went nicely with cold milk. Those unfortunate enough to have experienced this breakfast horror tell the story as one would recount a grisly battle – with hushed somber tones, a vacant stare, and an expression that belies the tragedy of it all. Our deepest respect to the poor souls who took a spoonful of Norman to their lips and lived to tell the tale.
DAVID Hasselhoff is so rock and roll. And now you can roll him into your room and rock him gentle as you straddle his back and surf along to his greatest hits as a woman in red tosses salty water in your face. You see, David Hasselhoff is selling a David Hasselhoff statue he owns at a Beverly Hills auction.
This is the Hoff who, when appearing in panto with dancing Louis Spence gave him the gifts of “A David Hasselhoff bag, Hasselhoff CD, Hasselhoff calendar and signed Hasselhoff picture” for Christmas. This is the Hoff, the man who brought down the old fault line of Europe by standing on the Berlin Wall dressed in a suit of lightbulbs, a performance of which he said: “I went to the Checkpoint Charlie museum a few years ago. There was nothing of me, and I was disappointed. Look at all these people celebrating! What about me? I was there!”
WHEN mankind emerged from the primordial ooze that was that was the 1940s, homes began a rapid upgrade. The Western nations’ economies grew in tandem with technology, and the benefits began to enter the home in the form of appliances that promised to transform the household. Now you could own a toaster – oh, the possibilities!
IN South Korea, The Diary of Anne Frank is a story of seduction, romance, 1980s fashions and a model who looks like Brian Eno.
MEET 18-year-old Stian Ytterdahl of Lørenskog, Sweden. He’s got a tattoo on his arm of the entire McDonald’s menu.
WHAT the Mad Men of advertising’s Golden Age would have made of today social media experts can only be guessed at. And our guess is they’d have made them unemployed. Anyone with a spark of creativity louder than a gnat’s fart would nowadays be hailed as social media guru.
Today’s disaster is supplied by Ribena, the sugary drink.
The Tweet copy trills:
“There’s no better way to start the day than sitting down to watch #DayBreak with a cuppa for you and a glass of Ribena Plus for the kids!”
THIS is the most accurate toy representation of a real cat ever: